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  • First of all, let me apologize for my bad English.

    I don’t know exactly how many of you remember July 2, 1986 (nineteen eighty-six). Where you were and what you did that day.
    I remember that day very well, and especially that night.

    On the night of July 2, 1986 I was in a hospital in Tradate.

    Tradate is a small town north of Milan.
    We had chosen this small hospital to give birth to our daughter.
    Actually to give birth to the fruit of our love because while the baby was in Elisa’s belly, we did not know whether it was a girl or a boy.

    We had asked the doctors who did the scans not to tell us.
    We wanted it to be a surprise – as it used to be until only a few years before.

    In the afternoon of the day before, Elisa had called me at work in Milan, saying that it would be better if I went home because she was in labor and her water had broken, a sign that the moment of the birth was near.

    When I got home, we left for the hospital bringing with us the bag that had been ready for days with clothes of all colors for the baby.

    After admission to the hospital and a brief examination, the doctors told me it was early and that it would be better for me to go home and return the next morning.
    But I didn’t want to go home and after a quick sandwich in the coffee bar opposite the hospital, I went back to Elisa.

    Elisa’s contractions became more frequent and the pain was getting stronger.
    She would walk up and down the corridor for a little while and then lie on the bed.
    She would also hold my arms and cling to me when the pain got stronger.
    I tried to hold her.
    Sometimes she would scream out and call for her mother.

    Night had fallen, and from the nearby rooms of this small hospital we could hear other woman screaming.

    Outside the wind was blowing and after a while, thunder and lightning filled the sky.
    Heavy rain started to fall.

    Every now and then the midwife would come to our room (her name was Rosanna) to check on Elisa and then she would leave saying it was still early, that it would still take time.

    It was hot that night, it was July 2 and it was a humid summer.
    Elisa was sweating from the effort and the pain.

    In hospital, when it's time to give birth, women are taken to the operating room and put on gynecological beds.
    But Elisa didn’t want to give birth to our baby in the O.R. so midwife Rosanna spread a mattress on the floor and called the gynecologist (her name was Mariapia).
    Elisa squatted while I held her by the shoulders.
    Her screams at times echoed throughout the room.
    Then after a louder scream, Rosanna welcomed the new baby.

    The midwife said it was a girl and placed her on Elisa’s belly.

    The little girl was crying gently.
    Elisa asked for the baby to be placed a little closer to her face so that she could look at her and for the first time that night Elisa smiled.

    Then when the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, they cut it freeing the baby from the physical link with her mother.

    Meanwhile, outside it had stopped raining.

    A nurse and I went to bathe the baby.
    As I left the room, I looked at Elisa who was drenched in sweat.
    Her hair was messy and her face looked tired ... but she was smiling, and she was ... beautiful.
    After the bath, I went back into the room holding the little bundle in my arms.
    Elisa had changed into her pajamas.
    The bed had been made and her hair was combed.
    I rested our baby girl on Elisa’s belly, who put her on her breast.
    The baby started suckling.

    I sat next to Elisa, took her hand and closed my eyes.

    It was still dark but dawn was breaking.
    From the half-open window, we could hear the chirping of birds flying from tree to tree to greet the arrival of a new day.

    That was the moment in my life when I felt most in harmony with creation.

    We could only hear the chirping, our breath and the baby suckling on her mother's breast.

    A few minutes later, the midwife came in and asked us what name we had chosen for the girl.
    Elisa and I had prepared a short list of names and told each other that we would decide on one when we saw the baby.
    I looked at Elisa, looked at the baby and said: Irene, which in ancient Greek means peace.

    Today, Irene begins a new life, with Taylor at her side.

    I hope that together you can have a long and peaceful life, and realize all your dreams and desires.

    For as much as it will be possible, Elisa and I will be at your side.

    Please know that our hearts and our thoughts are with you.

    On July 2, 1986 when I put Irene on Elisa’s belly, I entrusted her with her mother’s care and love.

    Today, February 4, 2011 (twenty eleven), I give her to you Taylor.
    I'm sure you will look after Irene with all your love and your strength.

    Thank you.
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